Google Chrome and Classroom add new features for teachers and students, including ‘reading mode’

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Google is rolling out new Chrome and Classroom features for teachers and students, the company announced on Tuesday. The tech giant is adding a new “reading mode” for Chrome, an AI-powered Hand Raise Gesture Detection feature for Meet, and more.

The new “reading mode” is a customizable reader view that comes to the side panel in the company’s browser. The new feature is designed to help students with dyslexia and ADHD. Reading mode reduces distracting elements on the screen, such as images and videos, so users can focus on the primary content of a page. You can also adjust settings such as the font, font size, and spacing, along with text and background color. Reading mode is available in the Chrome browser in ChromeOS in M114.

Google reading mode

Image Credits: Google

The new AI-powered hand motion detection feature, which will be available to all Google Workspace for Education users, is designed to make meetings more natural. When you physically raise your hand, Meet will automatically raise the Hand icon and move you to the main grid. The new feature will roll out in the coming months.

Google is also launching the ability for two or more teachers to co-manage slides through a new “co-presenting” feature that will roll out in the coming months.

Google's co-presentation feature

Image Credits: Google

Another new Google Classroom feature gives teachers the ability to add interactive questions to a YouTube video and assign them to students. While the video plays, students can answer the questions, get real-time feedback on their answers, and rewatch the video if necessary. Teachers can gain insight into their students’ progress, such as which questions they struggled with. The beta version of this feature is available in English, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, and Spanish.

In addition, Google announced a new “practice sets” feature that uses AI to help teachers turn their existing educational content into interactive assignments and provide more personalized support. Practice sets will be available worldwide in English in the coming weeks, with plans for additional languages ​​in the future.

“As teachers add questions to their practice set, they see suggestions for skills to focus on, such as solving equations with decimals or writing theorems,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Based on the selected skills, students receive useful tips if they get stuck. Through automatically generated insights, practice sets also help teachers quickly identify gaps in understanding at both class and student levels so they can adjust their approach. Teachers can even share practice sets with other verified teachers in their domain.”

Google Screencast Updates

Image Credits: Google

Google also announced that it is adding new updates to Screencast, the tool that allows teachers to record and share lessons. The company is expanding recording and transcription support to a dozen new languages, including Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish. In addition, Google is releasing a web player so that students and teachers can view screencasts in any browser on any device. Finally, Google is introducing demo tools that allow users to animate clicks and taps and highlight all the hotkeys they use on the screen. The new updates will roll out to ChromeOS 112 users in early April.

Google initially launched a slew of new features for teachers and students during the pandemic when schools closed, but has since steadily introduced new online learning features for both teachers and students.

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